Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2898 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Recognising that a code of practice does not have the force of a law, I have agreed, along with Ministers in the States and the Northern Territory, to amend the ACT animal welfare legislation to incorporate the minimum floor allowances which apply from 1 January 1996 to ensure national uniform enforceability. This arrangement will permit breaches of the minimum floor allowances to be treated as breaches of the legislation itself. My department is in the process of drafting the necessary amendment to the Animal Welfare Regulations. Unfortunately, the deadline for national standards requested by the national council has not permitted the ACT Animal Welfare Advisory Committee to complete its deliberations on the national code. The committee sees the need for increased space allowances, however, and only minor amendments to take account of the special circumstances of the ACT are likely to be suggested. As soon as its advice is received, I will consider further changes and inform the Assembly.
Some sections of the community have argued that battery hen farming in the ACT should be stopped altogether. I understand their motives, but the suggestion is illogical. Stopping battery hen farming in the ACT will only retrench 60 ACT workers, close down a major ACT business, require the ACT to import more eggs from elsewhere and, more importantly, move 250,000 hens interstate but not improve the conditions for a single bird. If battery hen farming is to be stopped, it must be a national decision. Anything less will simply encourage jurisdictions with the weaker codes to export cheaper eggs to States where battery farming is banned or more heavily constrained. I commend the national code of practice to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Ms Horodny) adjourned.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, I seek leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on liquor enforcement measures.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, in recent years the wide availability of liquor in the Territory has highlighted significant problems which we as a community must confront. These problems are forced upon us each year in growing proportions as we face the reality that many Canberrans wish to celebrate anything from a sporting win to a graduation, a wedding or birthday by availing themselves of the variety of night-life which this city now offers. The Government takes the view that Canberra should be about attracting a diverse range of entertainment to cater for the wishes of its citizens and also attract tourists. But in order to do this we have to accept a responsibility to ensure in the best way possible that liquor is used responsibly, not dangerously. Further, those selling liquor need to understand their responsibilities as retailers of a product which, if not handled properly, can turn into a killer. And, most importantly, users of alcohol need to understand the dangers of its irresponsible use.